JCPenney Hit With $40 Million Lawsuit Claiming They Stole Light-Up Logos

While it seemed the little rebranding engine that could, JCPenney, was chugging along at an admirable pace, a lawsuit against the retail chain could make a bit of a kink in the tracks. A lighting design and branding firm is suing JCPenney for $40 million over their new logo.

The Chicago Tribune says Hudson + Broad Inc. is suing over JCPenney’s Fair and Square icon, claiming breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. They filed the complaint with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The issue arises over the large, square fixtures made with Plexiglas and LED lights that are sprinkled throughout JCPenney’s store to mimic their new logo, as part of the company’s attempt to update heir store interiors.

Hudson + Broad, a small New York-based company, says it was the one who first developed and created the first of those large displays in a deal struck in 2011, but that JCPenney then farmed out production to other manufacturers.

The design company says one large logo that could change colors on command was installed at the JCPenney Manhattan Mall location, with another at corporate headquarters in Texas. Hudson + Broad claims JCPenney followed that up by asking for 1,800 unites to be installed in over 700 stores. But while the design company was planning that move, JCPenney decided to source the units elsewhere.

Hudston + Broad says it was “shocked beyond belief” and told JCPenney the logos were proprietary. It claims JCPenney then stopped all communication. The design company is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.

Rebranding rut: J.C. Penney sued for $40 million over new icon [Chicago Tribune]